"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Broad Ripple Lodge Golf & Boating Outing

This photo just in from yesterday's Broad Ripple Lodge #643 Golf and Boating Outing at Raccoon Lake. WBro. Paul Lee Hargitt again piloted the lead party boat.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lodge Vitruvian July Meeting

Lodge Vitruvian had an outstanding one-two punch over the last few days.On Saturday, we initiated a new young man at Schofield House, the tavern that Indiana Freemasonry was first organized in 1818. Schofield House is located in beautiful Madison, Indiana, and it has been restored and maintained by the Grand Lodge of Indiana since the 1970's.

Tuesday evening was our stated meeting and quarterly Festive Board, and we were honored by a visit from a delegation from Michigan: MWB:.Richard H. Sands, PGM of the Grand Lodge of Michigan; and from Golden Rule Lodge No. 159 in Ann Arbor were WB:. Robert L. Murphy, PM, Secretary; WB:.Raymond L. (Ray) Holcomb, PM, Senior Warden; and William B. (Bill) Krebaum, Tiler. I had the great pleasure of meeting most of these brethren at the Midwest Conference on Masonic Education in Evansville earlier this year, and they made the trek down to see just what we're up to at Vitruvian.

Our Worshipful Master Phillipe Garver received deliver of our special, imported Lodge Vitruvian firing glasses, so we could at long last provide "good fire" with our ceremonial toasts at the always outstanding Capri Restaurant. If there was any indigestion to be had, it came from the guest speaker, a certain Dummy who spoke about Masonic sights and landmarks from his research trips to Washington D.C. for Solomon's Builders.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Deadline day

Didn't our parents warn us about sitting too close to the TV set when we were kids and how it would deform our retinas into little pancake-shaped puddles of unfocusable goo? And yet here we all sit today with our noses glued so close to the Prussian-blue glow of our computer monitors that the gamma rays have to be braising our frontal lobes clear through to the pons.

Up against a book deadline today.

Nothing trivial. Just 120 pages or so. Plus a magazine article. And a book proposal. Oh, and assembling a 47 page report to refinance our property.

Kill me now.
Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @ Explosm.net

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Prince Hall GL Indiana

I had an all too brief chance to stop by the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Indiana's Annual Communication this evening. Wish I could have stayed longer - or could come back tomorrow. Have to be in Madison, IN for an EA degree for our newest member of Lodge Vitruvian. It's always a pleasure to see the PHA brethren, and catch up with brothers I haven't seen in a while. WB:. Wilson Lorrick, PM (photo) and current Master of Fidelity Lodge No. 55 is a special friend, who sees to it that Fidelity always has the very best hospitality room! This is the 6th (!) time that Wilson has sat in the East at Fidelity – I'm not sure if that's an honor or a sentence. I wish him, and the new Grand Line of the MWPHGL of Indiana all the best.

Will Saylor of WT&T and I had the chance to be at their Lodge of Sorrows, which was unlike any event like it I've ever been to. The music, the message and the true outpouring of brotherly love was truly moving.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Politics, Network and the Illuminati

Two peculiar activities coincided, collided and commingled at Hodapphaüs this week. The first was that Alice and I are working on a new project for the Dummies folks. I can't reveal the title yet, let's just say "it's a secret." But we have been engrossed in research on the origins of the Illuminati and its subsequent morph into a shorthand term for the secret domination and control of the world. Whatever that means.

The second was our very first public protest demonstration ever. We gathered with about 2,000 other angry Indianapolis citizens on Monument Circle on Sunday to protest the jackbooted thuggery of our county's property tax system. Not to bore you with local politics, but a "perfect storm" of taxation has occurred in the county in which Indianapolis resides, resulting in a skyrocketing rise in property taxes on homes, first in 2003, then again this year. In some notorious cases, taxes went up 300% and more, and average folks living in homes they paid $100,000 for are getting bills in excess of $3000 to $7000 per year. And the City now also wants to raise the local income tax to pay for 30 years of failure to provide for a police and fire pension plan. Like I say, boring stuff to anyone who doesn't live here. But thousands of protesters are now showing up regularly at the governor's mansion, the mayor's office, the statehouse, city council meetings and anywhere else politicians leave their slimy trail. The best thing is that the protests cross all party and socio-economic lines. Single moms in tarpaper shacks with a $800 bill are marching side by side with millionaires with $49,000 tax bills.

Remember the movie Network? It was very early on Saturday that someone (it wasn't me) stepped up to the megaphone and said, "I'm as mad as hell, and i'm not gonna take it anymore." And a wave of Howard Bealeism infected the crowd. Like Howard Beale's order to his TV audience to flood the White House with telegrams to stop a business deal, the protests have seemed to work. After just over a week, the Governor has stepped in with at least a temporary solution. Democracy and threats of mob riots won the day.

Then I remembered Arthur Jensen's speech to Howard after the White House blocked the CCA deal, and suddenly, there it all was. The best explanation of what people these days seem to believe is the illuminati, all laid out in one of the best two minutes ever put on film.

Jensen: YOU HAVE MEDDLED WITH THE PRIMAL FORCES OF NATURE, MISTER BEALE, AND I WON'T HAVE IT!! IS THAT CLEAR? You think you've merely stopped a business deal. That is not the case. The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back! It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity! It is ecological balance!

You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There ARE no nations. There ARE no peoples. There ARE no Russians. There ARE no Arabs. There ARE no third worlds. There IS no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multi-national dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, Reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels.

It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and SUB-atomic and GALACTIC structure of things today! And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mister Beale, and YOU WILL ATONE!

Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale?

You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today.

What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state -- Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, minimax solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do.

We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world in which there's no war or famine, oppression or brutality -- one vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock, all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused.

And I have chosen you, Mr. Beale, to preach this evangel.

Beale: But why me?

Jensen: Because you're on television, dummy. Sixty million people watch you every night of the week, Monday through Friday.

Beale: I have seen the face of God.

Jensen: You just might be right, Mr. Beale.

God love Paddy Chayefsky.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Masonic Minute: "What the Hell Do You Guys Do?"

One of the finest Masonic essays I've ever read appeared today on the Masonic Minute blog, entitled "What The hell Do You Guys Do?"

I don't know who you are, my brother, but you have managed to say what thousands have never been unable to put into words. Thank you.

It does it an injustice to excerpt it, I know, but I can't resist.

(T)here is no simple answer. If you want a simple answer, go away. We don’t want people who want simple answers. The days of “McMasonry” are fading fast…and not soon enough. For too long our Craft was worried about the number of new guys we could get in the door. We ignored the fact that we were not learning and teaching and reasoning. We did not care that we were turning our back on the very thinking tradition that allowed us to break-open the way the Western World thinks and reasons. We got lazy about our intellectual curiosity, we got sloppy with our ritual and worst of all, we lost contact with our communities.

So what is it that we DO? Right now, we are rebuilding the Fraternity...

Go. Read the whole thing.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday the 13th on KSSZ 93.9 FM in Columbia, Missouri

I'll be speaking this afternoon with radio host Derek Gilbert on The Eagle 93.9 KSSZ-FM in Columbia/Jefferson City, Missouri about the Knights Templar and Freemasonry, and all that stuff about Friday the 13th.

I'll be on after 6PM EST, or 5PM CST (local) time.

Download the podcast HERE.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

MWB:. Robert A. Drury, GM of Alberta, Passes Away

I read with great sadness of the sudden and very unexpected passing today of Most Worshipful Brother Robert A. Drury, the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta. He had traveled to Toronto to visit his family before heading for the GL of Ontario's annual communication, and passed to the Grand Lodge Above while having breakfast with his brother and his wife Lorraine.

My deepest condolences to his wife and family, and to the thousands of brethren of Alberta who must be devastated by this sudden loss of their friend, brother and Grand Master.

10,000 Famous Freemasons Again Available

The strictly Masonic publishing business is, frankly, a terrible business to be in. Any man who wakes up one morning and says, "You know, I think I'd like to be in the Masonic publishing business" should be beaten immediately over the head with a tire iron by his significant other. You have a limited audience to sell books to, and if you have no other popular subjects or titles that you can subsidize it with, the Masonic world just doesn't support its publications. We've lost Stephen Dafoe's excellent Masonic Magazine this year after just eight issues, because it was nothing but a money loser, in spite of having the best new Masonic articles published anywhere. His was, by the way, the only magazine that actually paid its authors - something Freemasonry Today and The Square do not do.

Brother Michael Poll has labored in the Masonic publishing business for several years. His Cornerstone Books are high-quality publications, and a good mix of reprinted classics from the fraternity's great authors of the past, as well as new, more modern books. They are not inexpensive, but they are well-crafted books that will last.

Which brings me to his newest offering. William Denslow published a massive reference work that is indispensable to the Masonic researcher. 10,000 Famous Freemasons was originally a four-volume set of books published in the 1950s, and is the only serious attempt ever made on such a large scale to catalogue the most famous or accomplished brethren known to be Freemasons. It has been out of print since the 1960s, and complete versions sell on ebay for hundreds of dollars, on the few occasions they can be found (last one I saw on Abebooks went for $865!). The only alternative was the expensive, 2 volume phone-book-sized, poor quality reprint made by Kessinger Publishing (not to knock friends at Kessinger and their astonishing catalogue of Masonic, esoteric, Rosicrucian and other antiquarian reprints - without them so many books from our past would be lost forever, and they perform an invaluable service to us all. I myself own more than 30 of their books).

Michael Poll has done the Craft a great service by offering a new version of 10,000 Famous Freemasons. Not just a Xerox copy or a badly scanned version - Michael has painstakingly re-typeset the entire four volume set, and made spelling and historical corrections. In addition, the last volume of the original version had included a revised Addenda with several hundred entries discovered while the later volumes were being researched. Michael has put the entries from the Addenda in the body of the other volumes, so the entire set now makes sense from an alphabetical point of view.

Lodge, Grand Lodge and university libraries, along with Masonic authors and academic researchers should all pony up for this important work. No, it's not cheap. The 4-volume set in paperback is $155, while the hardback version is $259. Be aware each book is 300-400 pages, and obviously with a limited number of us out in the countryside who will want it. Masonic publishers can't publish this kind of major work for free. Please support their important work. Buy a book. More important, buy these books.

Chris Garlington's Death By Children

Christopher Garlington is a stay-home dad in Chicago. His Death By Children blog has a sizable helping of hilarious vignettes that now makes me regret never having children, simply for the endless comedy material.

His latest entry is what made me look at his blog in the first place. Called Freemasonry, X-Box, Burnout 2, and the New Man, he makes some unusual observations. He's not a Mason, but lately I've been examining the opinions of non-Masons who comment on Masonic topics. I know he's trying to be funny, but he may be onto something:

I was doing some stats the other day and found out that there are over 2 million men staying home in the role traditionally reserved for women. 2 million.

X-box is marketing to the wrong people. For that matter, so are the dying fraternities that once funded all the parades—the Rotary, the Lions Club, and the Freemasons.

When they aren’t busy taking over the world and hiding the Holy Grail, the Freemasons spend a lot of time talking about Freemasonry. A website devoted to the fraternity recently posted an article saying that this breeding ground fro Shriners, Illuminati, and Alien Death Ray mechanics has watched its membership dwindle from a strong 4 million around the mid 50s to only about 2.5 million today. The reason for the drop in numbers has a lot to with the disconnect in the 60s, but really, more so with the fact that those 4 million guys in the mid 50s are all dead or dying now and the Masons and all those other clubs where you grandfather used to go practice secret handshakes and wear a fez, well they don’t exactly advertise. In fact, they do the exact opposite. You have to go to them. That’s kind of like having a sports store in an unmarked building. But that’s their way. I think they ought to quietly take a long look into the new crop of daddy-bloggers. Because I don’t want all these old clubs to disappear. We need guys to wear funny hats and drive miniature Caddilacs in parades. We need secret handshakes.

And imagine the boon to these clubs when they get 2 million members who all have no real job? The Christmas party committee is gonna rock! We’ll never miss a meeting (unless there’s a little-league game, basketball, chess club, band, football, theatre, AP classes, or a special episode of Lost. Otherwise we’ll be there.

I’m putting a call out to the Daddy Bloggers out there: join a fraternity today. Get your funny hat. Get your secret handshake. Drive that tiny car. You deserve it!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

GLNF Paris Masonic Museum Online

The Grande Loge Nationale Française website has been recently given a facelift, and includes an extensive trip through part of its Paris museum collection. Sorry, no English version yet (the link is dead).

Also be sure to check out the views of the GLNF's lodge rooms, especially the large Grand Lodge room. When they built their modern headquarters, they constructed a large ceremonial lodge room for big events, but much smaller, more intimate lodge rooms for regular meetings – a design that makes so much more sense than having big, empty, barn-like rooms for just 10 or 12 members to feel lonely in. But what I really like about the GLNF's design is the beautiful modern take on the traditional form of lodge room design and decoration. (You can see in the panoramic shot of the Grand Lodge room, if you look up, the unique open grid in the ceiling with a sense of a star-decked canopy).

Compare it to the very different Grande Loge de France's Paris headquarters, located in an 18th century former church. Both are beautiful, just two very different approaches.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

U.S. News & World Report: Secret Societies

U.S. News & World report had done several articles about Freemasonry over the last few years, and they have been pretty evenhanded with us. And since the publication of The Da Vinci Code, the magazine has covered the Templars, Opus Dei and others.

Now on newsstands is a special edition of U.S.News, Mysteries Of History: Secret Societies. It covers the Masons, the Rosicrucians, Opus Dei, Skull & Bones, the Mafia, the Klan, Scientology and others.

A couple of nice surprises. The Masonic article has many excerpts from Mark Tabbert's American Freemasons, along with an extended reprint on symbolism from Kirk MacNulty's Freemasonry: Symbols, Secrets, Significance.

But the nicest surprise was the listing of Solomon's Builders as a reference in the back.

2008 Midwest Conference on Masonic Education

The website for the 2008 Midwest Conference on Masonic Education in Omaha, Nebraska is up and running. It will be held at the Omaha Scottish Rite center April 25-28, and Brother S. Brent Morris is scheduled to be the keynote speaker.

An interesting aspect of this conference is that there has been a call for papers to be submitted, specifically about the implementation of Masonic Education, an Education Program or about the process of Masonic Education.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Saturday 7/7/07 on WMEL-AM 920 - SPACE COAST!

Florida friends on the Space Coast, I'll be on the Matthew Bronson Show on WMEL AM-920 in Melbourne, between 11:30AM and noon, talking about The Templar Code For Dummies.

Robert Cooper's The Rosslyn Hoax Now In Paperback

Robert L. D. Cooper's book The Rosslyn Hoax has just been made available in paperback, and is being sold directly through the George Washington Masonic National Memorial's gift shop.

I honestly believe Robert's book is the most important book yet published about Rosslyn Chapel, because it is NOT based on the stacks of pap, drivel and balderdash that has been written over the last few decades about the little church. My longer review is on my Templar Code For Dummies blogsite.

It's available on Amazon as well, but buying it from the Memorial helps to support its ongoing operation. In slightly related news, I have a pretty good source who tells me that the Washington Masonic Memorial will soon be a U.S. dealer for a well-known English regalia company, selling aprons and more that are often hard to find in the U.S. Details are forthcoming.

One other big benefit from ordering the book from the Memorial. Amazon is shipping in 4 to 6 weeks.

The Memorial is shipping in 4 to 6 hours.